We’re back, and we’re celebrating our fiftieth episode! We’re as surprised as you are that we’ve made it this far; we really should have been eaten by a shoggoth or returned to our essential salts long ago. With this in mind, we decided to commemorate the occasion in the way we know best: by talking too much. This is a long episode — over two hours in length — but it’s also a big subject. You could almost call it Cyclopean.

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There’s a reason why Lovecraft is remembered as a writer and not an artist.

Over the years, we’ve met a lot of people who only know of the Cthulhu Mythos through gaming. Given how pervasively Cthulhu’s tentacles have worked their way into the gaming world, and into geek culture in general, almost everyone interested in such things has heard of Lovecraft, or at least his most famous creation. This episode is our attempt to explain where it all came from and how Lovecraft’s influence spread so widely. It is a superficial overview at best, and none of us are Lovecraft scholars. We hope this will at least serve as an introduction, and may illuminate a few dark corners you weren’t previously aware of.

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Or you may prefer to flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Our investigations take in books, films, television, comics, music, games and other eldritch topics. All this follows on from the work of Lovecraft himself, however, and happily this is now in the public domain. If you haven’t read any of his stories, you can peruse them free online, or pick up a nicely formatted ebook of his complete works for less than the price of a sandwich.

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Especially one with tentacles.

With this being an overview, in many cases we’ve done little more than name-check various works, authors and artists. Our half-formed plan is to return to some of these topics in more depth later. Please let us know whether this sounds interesting or is the worst idea since August Derleth decided the Mythos should centre on a fight between good and evil. Weep.

Instead of finishing on that vexing note, here’s one of the highlights from Shoggoth on the Roof, a work we mention a number of times.

We’re back and we’re wrapping up our look at H P Lovecraft’s The Thing on the Doorstep. This is the episode containing all the bits you wanted to hear last time, but were bumped because we talked too much. Every time we record an episode about a Lovecraft story we promise we’ll keep the synopsis short, yet we never do. Maybe its time we acknowledged our rambling problem and dealt with it like mature adults, through heavy drinking and denial.

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Burying your head in the sand always seems like a good idea up to the moment it gets eaten by chthonians.

In particular we mention the few film adaptations to date (although it seems there’s a new one we missed, so I’ve embedded the trailer below by way of recompense) and, more pertinently, ideas about using elements of the story in your games. Definitely just in games. The Good Friends of Jackson Elias recommend against stealing the bodies of family members, as it can make Christmas dinner even more awkward than usual.

Be warned that there are some spoilers for an old Chaosium scenario that uses elements from The Thing on the Doorstep. It’s difficult to warn you which one, as the spoiler is that it uses these elements, so mentioning its name is a spoiler in itself. When we start talking about it, fast forward for a minute or so if you don’t want to know, or if you’re just getting bored of listening to us. I fast forward myself the whole time.

We’re back, and we come bearing some proper awesomeness. This is our discussion of another of Lovecraft’s later works, The Thing on the Doorstep, once again with an eye on how it can be used in gaming. Also, once again, we talked far too much, so the gaming part will actually be in the next episode. This half covers our impressions of the story, which are as heartfelt and divisive as you may have come to expect from us.

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“It is true that I have sent six bullets through the heads of my good friends, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that they were bloody well asking for it.”

If you would rather listen to a reading of the story instead of making your eyes dance around words on a page, Paul has found a good one, by Wayne June, posted on YouTube.

Some of the views on gender in this story are even weirder than they seem at first, and they start out pretty bloody weird. Once we get into the section about how only men’s brains have certain unique and far-reaching cosmic powers, it was inevitable that Paul would bring up this Harry Enfield sketch. It’s what Lovecraft would have wanted.

And, seeing as we’re embedding media mentioned in the episode, Matt makes mention of the classic HP Lovecraft Historical Society number, If I Were a Deep One, which gives us an excuse to link to that too (not that we needed much prompting).

This was the first episode recorded in our new, state-of-the-art studio (Paul’s home office). It’s no shed, and we dearly miss all the spiders. Worst of all, while we have retained our trusty old microphone stand (the wooden stool), Paul has cleaned all the mould off it! I don’t know how we’re expected to work under these conditions!

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Ah, fragrant fungus, how we miss you!

Anyway, must dash. Someone’s left a trail of putrescence and maggots over the doorway again, and we really should get it cleaned up before the next episode.